Category Archives: Saltair News

Saltair’s Sesquicentennial Quilt

To watch the video presentation of the Saltair Quilter’s please click on the highlighted link:

The needles are flying, and the machines humming as a group of Saltair quilters puts the final stitches into a giant 10 foot quilt that will be unveiled in June as a run-up to Canada Day 150. Christa Stegemann and her crew of about 12 quilters talked with me about the significance of the project and the pleasures of quilting recently at their space in the Saltair Community Centre on South Oyster School Road.

Work on the project began about a year ago, when the quilters group heard the Saltair Community Centre was planning a grand opening event in June. What better way to recognized the the now and then of Saltair, than by coming together in the production of a commemorative quilt. “I thought that it would be a good idea to provide a quilt that would somehow reflect the local scenery, and also reflect our love of quilting,” Stegemann said.

Since then about 12 quilters have been contributing to the final hanging, each designing an artistically stitched fabric square for the overall design. As of mid-April all the scenes had been sewn onto three large panels and quilter Bronwen Cossey was getting ready to sew the panels together into the 10 ft. tapestry. Included in the mix are images of: The Big Rock, a well known landmark to most Saltairians; Stocking Creek Falls; wildlife like heron deer and gulls; a tug plowing through the dark blue waters of the Salish Sea.

“We did want to choose landmarks that most people are familiar with,” Stegemann said. “So that’s how the whole thing began, and I believe that The Big Rock was the first thing that came to our minds, because any of the children who have grown up in this area, they know about the rock.”

As well as a commemorative project, the Sesquicentennial Quilt is a demonstration of the collaborative and community-building aspects of quilting. “It certainly satisfies an artistic bent in every one of us,” Stegemann said of the quilters’ passion. But there’s much more to it. Quilt club members were chatting continuously in the background as Stegemann and I chatted. There’s a huge social component to quilting, reminiscent of pioneer bees people’s Saltairian forebears would have joined in.

As well, quilts are often contributed to the community, finding homes on the walls and beds of people who need warmth and comforting. Jackie Miller was stitching away at her machine, making a quilt that will be donated to a community organization. She belongs to a group called The Cowichan Valley Heritage Quilters. “They’re the ones that will be distributing this quilt to the community,” she said. “I think in a year we would give out about 150 quilts.”

Newcomer Sue Maycock, who took up the quilter’s needle when she joined four months ago, is planning to use contemporary quilt designs to decorate her new home. “I just decided now I’m retired, I’ve got a little bit more time, I can learn some new crafts,” she said. “I like making wall hangings. I recently moved into a house, which I’m filling up the walls with gradually, so I’ve been doing some more modern quilting – bright colours to brighten up the walls.”

There’s any number of reasons a person might want to quilt. To find out more, contact Stegemann at peaceshalome [at] telus [dot] net. The quilters meet Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. to about 3 p.m. at the Saltair Community Centre. Beginners to experts are welcome. “We’re going to be offering little workshops, just to get people started,” she said. “Once they’ve started, they’re usually hooked.”

Article and video provided by writer Craig Spence

SDRA President John Silins Retirement & Reflections

After 8 years as a director of our organization and 4 years as president, I have decided not to stand for reelection. However, I leave you with the following reflections.

In early 2010, Anne mentioned to me that in 1910 this area, South Oyster was given the name of Saltair by the E&N Railway. I had been on the SDRA Board about a year so I mentioned this at one of our monthly meetings and suggested that we should celebrate the event. One thing lead to another and I ended up leading a group of volunteers to stage a celebration. At the time I thought that it would involve a lot of work. As it turned out it was an exceptional experience. The volunteers were wonderful. We started out from scratch: generated a lot of ideas, fundraised, co-opted businesses, service organizations and enthused the residents of Saltair. The celebration was a success – some 500 people attended.

In retrospect all I had to do was generate a ‘to do’ list and maintain it. It brought the community together and everyone enjoyed themselves.

Now fast forward a few years.

Three years ago CVRD bought the school property – five acres for $300,000 – $60,000 an acre, a huge bargain. The property was zoned institutional. CVRD bought the property in a rush and beat out some potential developers. The property came with the school building. What an opportunity to have local community centre, I thought. Soon after the purchase rumors or – in Trump speak ‘alternative facts’ were floated about, probably by unsuccessful developers. These included, in part , the building was full of asbestos and remediation would cost in excess of a million dollars as would deconstruction, the septic system was shot, no economical heat, health hazard, the roof needs replacement – hundreds of thousands of dollars, buried leaking oil tanks and so on. Unfortunately the rumors still persist. Why? Because the owner, CVRD, of the property never, in the years it owned the building, did a building inspection or assessment. Why not? You better ask them. Some of us did and got no satisfactory answer. Eventually, to comply with provincial legislation, CVRD is undertaking an assessment; the results are expected in June or there about. It is then that we will know the condition of the building and will be able to chart an appropriate course of action. In the meantime the rumor mill has been very active with resulting damage.

Fortunately there are some in Saltair who care enough about our community to form a society to take advantage of the current facility and start developing programming to benefit the social, physical, and mental health of our residents

A tough task with a lot obstacles – the most recent is objection to the CVRD Board for granting the Society start up funds. The objectors are complaining on the grounds that funding will deplete recreation reserves. The objectors conveniently forget to mention that there is a tenant in the building and that the rent paid exceeds the funds that the Society requested. Perhaps I should coin a new phrase – ‘selective facting’.

SDRA has been accused of being a secret society. We have a constitution. The purposes are enshrined in the constitution and are listed on the community web site. We are a member driven association. Our members pay an annual registration fee. The minutes of the SDRA Board meetings are posted on the ‘members only’ page of the community web site. We also produce a periodic newsletter, the Newsie, which is distributed to our members. Our AGM is followed by a ‘town hall’ meeting. Both meetings are widely advertises and are open to all residents of Saltair. We actively encourage membership. Our elections are open to all members.

Is that secret?

We have also been accused of somehow being in ‘cahoots’ or being ‘in the pocket’ of our Area Director and staff of CVRD. I refer you to our statement of purpose as stated on In part these include the requirement ‘to liaise with properly constituted (elected and appointed) bodies which make decisions about the district’. We do that regularly. We agree with some actions taken and support them and disagree with others and say so. We do this formally and informally. It seems to me that that is the proper thing to do.

On a more personal note I have enjoyed working with Mel Dorey, our elected representative. Mel has always listened. We have agreed on some things and disagree on others. When we have disagreed I, of course, think that I am right, and I am sure that Mel believes he is right, but we have worked together to the same goal, making Saltair a better place. I also recognize that our democracy is a representative democracy. We elect our political representatives on the basis of their platforms. We assume that those representatives will live up to their promises. I also recognize that environment changes over time and that not all promises are or can be can be kept. If we do not agree with the departures from promises, we say so at the next election.

Finally, I thank you for the opportunity to serve, you, our members.

Submitted by John Silins,  May 2017

Saltair Centre – Impromptu Gathering a Success!


Tim’s Impromptu Social Gathering was a Success!

23 folks attended a coffee & donut social gathering last Sunday, between 1:00 and 3:00 pm , April 23rd,2017 at the Saltair Community Centre.   Social gathering information was posted on  Facebook’s “Saltair Community Page (All Things Saltair)

It was a great way to mingle with friends, new neighbours and build excitement for future get together’s at the centre.

Tim Godau kindly hosted the “social” to help bring attention to the importance of building community spirit, having a designated place to do it in and getting to know your neighbours in Saltair.

Bocce game with Tim Godau and Jane Hope

Lets keep the momentum going, Anyone can host and organize a social. Classroom rates are $15.00 for two hours.

Contact: Saltair Community Society: bcleary [at] shaw [dot] ca

Photo credits: Ed Nicholson

Saltair Community Centre Society News

Saltair Community Society – News – 2017

The Saltair Community Society is pleased to announce that an “Agreement for Services and a Building Lease have been signed with the CVRD. The agreement and lease term runs until December 31st, 2018. During this time, we will continue to work to achieve our goal of successfully operating the former Mount Brenton School now called “Saltair Community Centre” for the use and benefit of Saltair and area residents. The Society applied to the CVRD and was granted $10,000 in startup funds from Area G Saltair Tax Recreation budget 456.

It has taken us a bit longer than expected to get to this point, however, the Society Board of Directors remain enthusiastic and are looking forward to proceeding with the goal in our Constitution: “To promote, maintain and expand interest in the historical, educational, cultural, economic and recreational endeavours of the Saltair community”.

 CVRD has publicly posted a Request for Proposals for qualified experienced Proponents to respond to ES -017-17 Saltair Community Centre Facility Condition Assessment. The final report is to be delivered by July 14th, 2017. The results will provide information for long term planning of the Centre.

Currently, the Society has an operating rental agreement with anchor tenant ILM Daycare. Saltair Quilting Group rents a classroom weekly and are busy creating a large quilt of Saltair for the Canada 150 celebration. Ed Nicholson is planning to create an historical room for Saltairians. Inquiries for rental space are starting to come in and we hope to secure further rental income shortly.

 We have four rooms available for rental, below are Interim/Introductory rates:

-3 regular sized classrooms – available from 8am-9pm weekdays and weekends- $15.00 for the first 2hrs and $7.50 for each additional hour thereafter.

-1 large carpeted meeting/activity room – available from 6pm-9:00pm weekdays or 8:00am to 9:00pm weekends – $25.00 for the first 2hrs and $10.00 for each additional hour thereafter.

If you are interested in booking a space contact: Bill Cleary at bcleary [at] shaw [dot] ca

 The Society thanks all our current members for their patience. Due to delays in getting the centre operational, previous memberships are being renewed/valid until December 31, 2018.

We welcome new members who can join by  clicking the text highlighted in green.  Print and fill- in form – Membership is $5.00/year, mail in to the address provided on the form.

Saltair Community Society Membership Form

If you are looking for ways to get involved, volunteers are eagerly needed in the following areas:

  • Work parties for: interior/exterior maintenance, painting, pressure washing, planter area spruce up, and landscaping tidy up.
  • Fund Raising/Donations
  • Event Planning
  • MS Word/Excel proficiency/experience in creating flyers/pamphlets/forms/posters
  • Grant Application writing
  • Newsletter/media
  • Organize coffee/tea/baked good social gathering, weekly or monthly

 On behalf of the Society’s Board of Directors, I would like to thank the many residents of Saltair who have supported the vision of a Community Centre as we build community wellness for future generations. Your encouragement is very much appreciated!

 Bill Cleary, President

bcleary [at] shaw [dot] ca



CVRD hosts Saltair Water Systems Treatment Plant Open House

What a pleasant surprise accompanied the most recent water bill. CVRD is hosting a tour of the Saltair water treatment plant and facilities, Saturday, May 13, 2017, 10am – 1pm.

It is billed as a family friendly event consisting tours of the treatment building, giveaways of water smart products, educational material and best of all, refreshments and snacks.

The address is 10631 South Watts Road. The road is a logging road and is pretty rough but passable; don’t take a Lamborghini.

Please click on highlighted link for further information

Saltair Water Systems Community Open House

CVRD:: 250 746 2530 or email: es [at] cvrd [dot] bc [dot] ca

Post provided by John Silins, April 25th, 2017

Saltair – Cowichan Valley Trail Update 2016


Over the summer you may have noticed volunteers  counting bicycles/pedestrians and vehicle traffic along Chemainus Road.

The data was required by the CVRD to be included in grant applications for funding to complete Saltair’s section of the Cowichan Valley trail.

Currently, CVRD Board of Directors approval was given to submit an application to the BC Rural Dividend Program for a $500,000 grant to complete the Saltair section of the Cowichan Valley Trail. The total project cost of $1.21 million will be supplemented with an allocation of $225,000 from the CVRD Community Works Fund and allocations from the Regional Parks function over a three year period.   Keep checking here for further updates.

Saltair Cyclists at Risk on Chemainus Road


By Peter W. Rusland of the Chemainus Valley Courier, September 2016 Edition

SALTAIR – folks in Saltair are demanding proper bike and pedestrian lanes along Chemainus Road to allow safe access to alternative transportation.

Jason Wilson of Saltair In Motion Group is angry, bike and walking lanes have been studied, and are a part of Trans Canada Trail plans, and are shown as necessary in Saltair’s 2005 Official Community Plan, but the OCP’s shoulder lanes “have been ignored for over a decade,” he said.

With no government action, residents take big risks along the five -kilometre stretch between where North Cowichan’s lanes end and Ladysmith’s start.

Wilson explained Chemainus Road’s northbound shoulder lane is not a real bike-pedestrian lane but a painted shoulder that’s crumbling and lousy with deep potholes.

“The southbound lane has nothing, not even a painted line”. So some riders, walkers and scooter drivers illegally head south in the northbound lane.

“Saltair should have the same safety structure provided as North Cowichan and Ladysmith’s,” Wilson fumed, citing the 2002 Chemainus Cycling Study calling for lanes.

The planned Trans-Canada Trail along Chemainus Road is “designated, but not complete. We’ve got a glaring need. It’s been put on the back burner”. “Our community can’t safely walk or ride along Chemainus Road because there are no shoulders and we can’t access our community safely”.

He’s also puzzled why a recent bike rodeo planned for Chemainus Elementary School students was suddenly scrapped by school administration.

However, adult cyclists made the perilous ride through Saltair to the school in Chemainus “as is our legal right and to draw attention to how difficult it is for us to share the road.”

Wilson shared his safety-lane concerns with the Cowichan Valley Regional District board in March 2016. He explained how a female cyclist was hit on the Chemainus Road stretch – also used by industrial traffic – in July 2015, then airlifted to hospital. Still no action!

“It’s like we’re second-class citizens. It’s like a ghetto town here,” he said.

“Any upgrades to roads should have concessions for cyclists and walkers, so we move away from being a car-centric community.”

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA and avid cyclist, Doug Routley agreed. “Chemainus Road is terrifying at times.” You’re in single file but there is nowhere to go, and tight bends with no shoulders.” His pending private member’s bill could establish a one-metre gap law as a minimum passing distance between riders and vehicles. “It could be a death sentence to a rider but not to a driver. Right now the law is the rider must be as far to the right as practicable. Its absolutely a non-motor vehicle user issue,” said Routley

Meanwhile, cyclist and Area G Saltair Director Mel Dorey was sorry to say Minister of Transportation Stone may simply have to have staff study Saltair’s lane needs. “Some people say there are 17,000 people in Chemainus, Ladysmith and Saltair who would use them, including kids going to school. There is a need. “The transportation ministry often say they just don’t have any money, but it would be great for our area in economic development for restaurants, B&B’s and the safety of local residents,” he said.

Saltair in Motion Update!

The Saltair in Motion cyclists braved the elements and poor road conditions riding from Saltair Community Centre to Chemainus on Friday Sept. 23. !!

The rally was organized to publicize the need for safe cycling paths along Chemainus Road and for the completion of the Saltair section of theTrans Canada Trail .

A big Thank you to Ladysmith Tim Hortons for providing the hot coffee and Chemainus Old Town Bakery for the warm fresh donuts on this rainy morning.

The group also conducted a traffic study on Chemainus Road over the summer months to provide proof of the heavy traffic on Chemainus Road and photos to show the critical need of cycling/pedestrian lanes. Data collected will be submitted to CVRD for grant applications to complete Trans Canada Trail and to Ministry of Transportation.

Thank you again to all the volunteer data collectors and cyclists who support the group’s efforts.

Crime Prevention Tips

There are a number of things that residents can do to discourage thieves:
1. Be on watch for any suspicious activity and report it to the RCMP at 250 245 2215. This may be, noticing a vehicle moving slowly and occupants staring intently at open garages, etc. Notate the description ie: colour, make, and license plate number of vehicle, occupants and if possible take  photos!  Be cautious of people coming to your door claiming to be lost or using the pretense of answering an ad about a car or RV for sale.
2. If you witness a break in or burglary in progress, call 911, immediately.
3. Know your immediate neighbors, exchange telephone numbers, exchange information about extended absences and arrangements about property monitoring.
4. Report any property loss no matter how insignificant you think it is. RCMP find this sort of information important to establish patterns that may lead to identity / apprehension of perpetrators.
5. Mark your property items with your B. C. driver’s license number. This will help in apprehension of those having unauthorized possession of the items and the return of the items.
6. Get together with your neighbours and organize a neighborhood  program such as COPS or Neighborhood Watch. The RCMP will assist organizing one.
7. Install motion lights and if possible closed circuit cameras. If you are contemplating a video system it is best to consult an expert on the type, installation and location. The sudden appearance of light may well scare an intruder away. Pictures of the intruder will help apprehension.
8. Always lock your vehicle and do not leave items of value in view when leaving your vehicle unattended. Take your vehicle insurance and registration documents with you if you are leaving your vehicle in a public place for an extended period of time. Thieves breaking into your vehicle will conclude that you are not home and use the documents to identify your residence. Your residence may become a prime target.
9. Place easily moved items such as tools, lawnmowers, chainsaws, wheel barrows, etc. in a secure location – locked shed, closed garage, etc.
10. Keep doors and accessible windows closed and locked at night. For obvious reasons keep ladders in a secure place.
11. Collect your mail on a regular basis. Do not leave mail overnight.
Do these things and you  will reduce the risk of property theft for yourself and your neighbours